How can a talent agency complement in-house recruiters?

Anthony Haynes writes: If one of your HR team’s responsibilities is recruitment, there’s no point in using a talent agency – right?

I interviewed Fiona Wilson, Managing Director of FJWTS, on this topic:

One question that often arises is, how can talent agencies add value to recruitment? Shouldn’t organisations just do their own recruitment?

There are various factors. One is the size of the hiring organisation. Our clients consist of organisations for professional people – membership organisations, awarding bodies, and learning providers. These organisations vary in size considerably.

Large organisations can support their own HR departments, including a recruitment function. Small ones can’t. In that case, trying to do one’s own recruitment has a high opportunity cost – it takes people away from their core work. And it typically results in someone trying to do things they’re not trained to do.

Does that mean that large, well-resourced, organisations should do their own recruitment?

The answer is both yes and no. At the junior role (aka ‘commodified’) end of the scale, such organisations may be perfectly well equipped to do so. Modern technology has made this easier to do. This explains why, as a matter of policy, we don’t deal with junior roles at all.

What about senior or mid-level roles?

It’s at these levels that we find we can add value for clients.

How come?

There are several reasons. For example: internal recruiters sometimes attempt to fill a role but then feel dissatisfied with the field they come up with; or they tend to have difficulty discovering passive candidates; or they might be less effective at discovering candidates from outside their traditional networks; or they may not be in a position to act within the desired timescale; or they may have too many tasks to fulfil all at the same time.

The benefits of using an agency become more pronounced when one moves beyond standard recruitment: for example, our Premium Service provides clients with candidate assessments based on a variety of psychometric tools. You really need a trained, qualified, specialist for that and, fortunately, we have Tony Walsh in our team.

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